Easy-on-the-pocket Pinoy "comfort food with a twist" is what PenPen restaurant is all about. Owner Chupsie Medina makes sure that dining here is as good as eating in your own home, if not better. Her son and right-hand man, indie-film star Ping Medina, describes PenPen food as a "quick and affordable fix na mas masarap 'yong pagkaluto than the usual."
PenPen—named after Ping's dad, veteran actor Pen Medina, besides being a play on the children's rhyme "Pen Pen de Sarapen"—has been catering to the Tomas Morato lunch crowd for more than a year now. It was Ping who thought of taking PenPen to a new level by improving the facade and revamping the menu, throwing in new dishes and family recipes such as fried chicken Kiev and gourmet daing pasta.
He also drew in a lot of friends and fans after he advertised PenPen on his blog (pinggoy. livejournal.com).
This business, Ping says, is a good alternative source of income and another outlet for practicing his creativity. "Hindi siya per project, hindi siya per performance, hindi per take ang basehan. Kailangan talagang almost mag-o-obsess ka, e. Parang baby mo talaga. Kailangan mong tutukan, alagaan, lambingin. Kailangan mo talagang malaman kung ano 'yong nangyayari sa loob."
Ping's other bright idea is donating a portion of PenPen's profits to charity. For now, it has a tie-up with the nonprofit organization House of Comfort Art Network (ArtHOC), whose Manikako project aims to teach art to less privileged children all over the country.